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Six climbers on Mount Rainier believed to be dead.

Six climbers on Mount Rainier likely fell thousands of feet to their deaths in what would be among the worst alpine accidents ever on the iconic Washington mountain, the US media report.

Mount Rainier National Park officials say six climbers are presumed dead after helicopters detected pings from emergency beacons buried in the snow and a debris field that may indicate an avalanche.

Searchers believe the group fell 3,300 feet from their last known whereabouts of 12,800 feet on Wednesday, park spokeswoman Patricia Wold told CBS affiliate KIRO in Seattle. A helicopter crew spotted camping and climbing gear in the avalanche-prone area, park Ranger Fawn Bauer said.

"It's inconceivable that anyone survived that" fall, Wold said. Officials have not released the names of those who died.

Bauer a pile of gear found at 9,500 feet that included tents, sleeping bags and jackets that belonged to the missing climbers. The rangers suspect the group might have fallen into the glacier below.

"It's a sad day at Mount Rainier," park superintendent Randy King said Sunday.

Air and ground searches were suspended late Saturday afternoon. The bodies won't be recovered Sunday because they are in an extremely dangerous area, where snow, ice and rock fall constantly, she said.

"It would expose our rangers to pretty extreme conditions, so we are not able to do any kind of ground searching of that area," she said. "And, in all honesty, we may never be able to get on the ground there."

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Publication:AKIpress News Agency
Date:Jun 2, 2014
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